In full: Rangers Supporters statement over dual contract investigations
THE RANGERS Supporters Trust and The Rangers Supporters Association made the following statement on behalf of the Rangers Supporters Assembly last night.
On behalf of the Rangers Supporters Assembly, The Rangers Supporters Trust and The Rangers Supporters Association, we would like to make the following statement about the investigation into so called “dual-contracts” by the SPL.
“Rangers fans are becoming increasingly concerned about the details emerging on the SPL investigation and tribunal being set up to deal with the allegation that so called ‘dual contracts’ were used by Rangers FC. As with other consequences of the mismanagement of the club in recent years, if there has been wrongdoing then we would be victims, too. We are asking for justice and fairness, but in discussing the stripping of titles, it appears the SPL has assumed guilt when nothing has yet been proved.
There are a number of areas of concern that we would like addressed in the hope that the football authorities will now act with the necessary independence, transparency and integrity.
Conflict of Interest - There would appear to be a serious conflict of interest in the choice of law firm appointed by the SPL to carry out their investigation. Harper MacLeod have acted for Celtic FC, who would be the main beneficiaries of any finding of guilt in the case. Indeed, until it was recently removed, they included a testimonial from Celtic CEO Peter Lawwell on their website. The SPL could have chosen any law firm to carry out this investigation and it was extremely naïve of them to appoint a firm with such a close connection to a rival club.
Prejudicial Media Coverage - There is a concern that any tribunal appointed to rule on this matter will have been seriously prejudiced by the negative media coverage surrounding it. Several managers and chairmen of SPL clubs have attempted to prejudge the matter in the media over the past few months. This includes, but is not limited to, giving opinion on what the punishment should be. This has led to a media feeding frenzy which will have been difficult for any potential tribunal member to disregard. We want reassurance on the selection of the tribunal members and confidence in their impartiality.
Focus on Most Severe Sanction - We are concerned that, despite the SPL having 18 sanctions available, the only punishment being discussed is the most serious yet no guilt has even been established. This, again, leads to a danger of exerting undue influence on the tribunal members through the media. We believe this is being driven by influential members of the SPL board and recently formed ‘steering committee’ with the most to gain.
Focus on Rangers - We would question why there appears to be no on-going investigation into the so-called “Juninho EBT” used by Celtic FC. Our understanding is that Celtic acknowledged that this was not declared to the football authorities as part of their licence application. If this is the case, then why is a tribunal not being set up to look into this? Did Harper McLeod, who include Celtic amongst their clients, investigate this matter as well? We wish clarity on whether there have been technical breaches at ANY SPL clubs over the past 10 years, with the progress of the investigation and the results being declared.
We want justice and fairness for all.
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